Suzanne Estey’s claim to fame, as she has stated during her campaign, is her involvement as a board member of Community Center for Education Results (CCER), an “organization” that was created out of thin air by Bill Gates to the tune of over $4M to go after Race to the Top funding. This was a three-year push for funds that allow any interested third party to access not only the basic information of name, address and social security number of our students, but now lots more, more than any parent would want to see made public. And all for a pittance. For more on the subject, see CCER, the Road Map Project and the loss of student privacy.

The accumulation of student information is a nationwide effort by Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and former New York Mayor Bloomberg to have a national database called inBloom.

Sue Peters 4 School BoardSue Peters, always tracking the school district’s actions, was the first to catch a leak of our students’ information three years ago during the same time that Estey was pushing to gain more information on our children, see Should the School District Be Allowed to Give Our Kids’ Phone numbers, Addresses and Photos to Every Tom, Dick and Pollster?

Sue has been an active parent in the Seattle Public School district for ten years, an education journalist, a member of the district’s Superintendent Search Community Focus Group and the Strategic Plan Stakeholder Task Force as well as a founding member of Parents Across America and the Seattle Math Coalition.

As with any campaign these days, though, we need to follow the money.

Estey has received $176,000 worth of campaign contributions from a relatively small group of people and yet doesn’t seem to know who her funders are or why anyone would be concerned. This is according to what Estey said in a candidate’s forum last month. Is this naiveté or a just little white lie? From what I’ve seen, she doesn’t seem to be the type to easily bold face lie to others…or is she? Check out the video of the 37th District Democrat’s Forum, go into the video to 10:36 and judge for yourself.

Is Estey clueless? Does she truly have no idea of the issues swirling around her and the players involved? If so, we can’t afford a school board director who has no idea what they are getting into and then take two years to get up to speed while Rome burns.

Does Estey not understand the devastating effects that the big money takeover has on the democratic process in our public schools as seen with the proliferation of charter schools, the Common Core Standards, high stakes testing and Teach for America, Inc.?

This makes her putty in the hands of her big donors. You can see the effect it had on previous board members who received much less in campaign donations from this same group of donors a few years back.

In a Stranger article One Funny Thing About That Old Suzanne Dale Estey Story, Anna Minard writes:

…one of the main themes in this race is that Estey is supported and funded by charter schools advocates, other corporate ed reformers, and some of the crappiest board members in recent history, but she promises that just because they endorse her or give her lots of money, they don’t really speak for her. In our SECB meeting, when we asked her about her endorsements from the scandal-tinged Peter Maier and ineffective incumbent Michael DeBell, she told us: “Just because someone is supporting me doesn’t mean I embrace all of their weaknesses.”

Let’s take a look at Estey’s major contributors.

Matt Griffin:

Matt Griffin, a developer in Seattle, set up the PAC “Great Seattle Schools” to support Estey’s campaign.

When developers begin to invest money in campaigns that are related to public schools, odd things begin to happen that are not so good for students but great for investors. For example, check out what developers had in mind in Chicago when Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, was CEO of the public schools, a district with a public school system that now looks more like what’s left of Iraq than Main Street, USA. It was called Renaissance 2010.

According to a previous post on Seattle Education, The Seattle School Board Incumbents, Stand for Children and Other Corporate Reform Backers:

Matt Griffin, a wealthy developer in Seattle, donated $1,000 to Defeat 1098 (an income tax on the wealthy)in 2010. He also donated to all of the incumbents’ campaigns in 2010. Mr. Griffin gave Peter Maier and Steve Sundquist $1,000 each and Sherry Carr and Harium Martin-Morris, $2,000 each.

These same incumbents also received funding from Stand for Children and rubber stamped everything that our Broad superintendent at the time sent down the pike including allowing Teach for America, Inc. into Seattle, the costly and unnecessary school closings debacle and RIF’s which caused unnecessary consternation and chaos with the majority of teachers returning the following fall.

Mr. Griffin also contributed to the  Seattle Foundation to cover the Seattle Public School district’s cost of hiring Teach for America, Inc. temps.

The contributors to his PAC include:

Democrats for Education Reform (DFER): $10,000

DFER-electionDemocrats for Education Reform (DFER) is a political action committee supported largely by hedge fund managers favoring charter schools, merit-pay tied to test scores, high-stakes testing, school choice (including vouchers and tuition tax credits in some cases), mayoral control, and alternative teacher preparation programs allowing Teach for America, Inc. to staff public schools.

For more on DFER in Washington State, check out Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) candidates in Washington State , Lisa Macfarlane with WA DFER wins the Walton Award for privatization, EduShyster’s two great posts Biz School Boyz 4 Reform and Stuff White People Like: Education Reform and Diane Ravitch’s post Follow the Money.

Nick Hanauer: $20,000

A self-proclaimed “venture capitalist” living in Seattle who put up $450k for the charter school initiative and is a founder of the League of Education Voters.

For information on his most recent activity, see The League of Education Voters is at it again. This time they’re going after the teachers.

Chris Larson: $30,000

A retired Microsoft executive and self-described “Investor”.

Sloan Stuart: $2,500


Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (CASE) : $2,750

Basically the Chamber of Commerce for Seattle.

Other contributors to Estey’s campaign include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Jeff Raikes, head of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, bringing the grand total to $176,000, a record for school board races in the Seattle school district. And yet, Estey doesn’t have a clue why anyone would be concerned who her donors are. Hmmm.

Funding for Sue Peters:

The rest of us who she will stand with and fight for: $28,000

We need someone in office who knows what they’re doing and can do a great job of it.

Vote Sue Peters for School Board and share this post far and wide.

For more on Sue Peters and her campaign, check out Sue Peters for School Board.

You can download a postcard sized flyer to share with your friends and neighbors.


Sue’s endorsements include the following:

The Stranger

Seattle Education Association (SEA)

Social Equity Educators (SEE)

National Women’s Political Caucus

of Washington

M. L. King County Labor Council

International Union of Operating Engineers – Local 609

Teamsters Joint Council No. 28

Greater Seattle Area Local of the American Postal Workers Union

11th District Democrats

32nd District Democrats

34th District Democrats

36th District Democrats

37th District Democrats

43rd District Democrats

King County Democrats

Metropolitan Democratic Club of Seattle

Washington State Progressive Caucus

Green Party of Seattle

Eat the State

FUSE – Progressive Voters’ Guide

Municipal League of King County – Very Good – “Makes significant contributions, is a skilled builder of consensus, inspires confidence in the way he/she would serve, is thorough and attentive to issues.”

SEAMEC (Seattle Metropolitan Elections Committee) – 4 – Exceeds Expectations = Highest rating in the race!

The Network for Public Education

Elected Officials:

State Senator Maralyn Chase

State Representative Gerry Pollet

State Senator Bob Hasegawa

State Representative & Chair of House Education Committee, Sharon Tomiko Santos

State Representative Cindy Ryu

State Representative Joe Fitzgibbon

King County Councilmember Larry Gossett

Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata

Seattle School Board Director Marty McLaren

Seattle School Board Vice President Betty Patu

Seattle School Board Director Sharon Peaslee

Seattle School Board President Kay Smith-Blum

Former Seattle School Board Director Mary Bass

Former Seattle School Board Director Amy Hagopian

Former Seattle School Board Director Sally Soriano

Former Seattle School Board Director Irene Stewart

Mercer Island School Board Director Dave Meyerson

This post submitted by Dora Taylor